Dear Colleagues,

We are publishing a report<> today on a pioneering survey we conducted on The Diffusion of Innovation in Low Income Countries. For this survey, Professor Xiaolan Fu and her team gathered data from more than 500 formal and informal firms from across Ghana, sampling businesses in a large variety of industries to investigate the determinants of innovation in firms under institutional and resource constraints, and how innovation is transmitted in these contexts. This research is unique. Most of existing scholarship on the topic focuses on different inputs and outputs related to innovation. We tried to open the "black box"of innovation, recognising that many innovations in the LIC context are not produced in R&D labs but based on learning and adaptation.

In the report, there are interesting findings and evidence regarding the role of trade, MNEs, internet and other international linkages in facilitating the cross border innovation diffusion to the Low Income Countries. There are also information about the innovativeness and the source and origin of innovation in subsidiaries of MNEs in the LICs. Although we are working on more in-depth academic analysis of these issues, evidence from this report may provide you with useful materials for teaching and research.

Last week, we published a video<> highlighting some aspects of this research. The full report sheds further light on a variety of issues. One important discovery from the survey is that innovation occurs across a wide variety of sectors and comes in many forms. Because it is often incremental and for the base of the development pyramid, the report finds that ˇ°innovation is a means for development and not the outcome of development.ˇ±

The report further investigated how the firms acquired knowledge, which factors drove innovation, and how collaboration for innovation was structured. In addition, it identified key bottlenecks to furthering innovation. It also found that while the government was regarded as an important innovation partner, innovation efforts within the firms are largely unsupported.

We hope you will find the research useful. To view the full report, click here<>.

Best wishes,


Xiaolan Fu (¸µĎţá°)
Professor of Technology and International Development;
Director, Technology & Management for Development Centre;
ODID, University of Oxford
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